India is blessed with thousands of legends and tales related to gods and ancient sculptures. These are not just the stories but the beliefs and faiths of mankind which keep this awareness strong and reliable. Every ridge of this land is glorified with enormous majestic temples and shrines which not only enhances the charm of this realm but also formulates divinity into the ambiance. Yaganti temple is one of those dignified temples, which creates a sense of belief and acceptance towards our supreme lords.
I always being a Buddha enthusiast, have traveled everywhere where I got Buddha Shrines. I have visited all Buddha Statues in Sikkim, visited the best Buddha Statues in Bangalore, and gained immense knowledge about Buddha’s Life and teaching. I gained knowledge about how the supreme soul attained enlightenment. But this time the glorious stories of the majestic temple of Yaganti made me curious to know more about the place. Here’s what I realized and achieved after visiting the place.
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History of Yaganti Temple
Andra Pradesh is known for the beautiful architectural designs on age-old temples and shrines. One can discover temples in every nook and corner of Andhra Pradesh. These divine temples in Andhra Pradesh not only have numerous spiritual importance but also have profound centuries-old architecture. Badrachalam Sitaramswamy Temple, Kanaka Durga temple, Srisailam temple are a few of the temples that are must-visit temples in Andhra Pradesh. Among the mystical temples, the Tirupati Balaji temple and Yaganti temple are the most visited temples in Andhra Pradesh.
The temple is believed to be designed back in the 5th-6th centuries from the contributions of Cholas, Pallavas, Chalukyas, and Vijayanagara Rulers. Beautiful architectures bring elegance to the realm and grant us the grace of divinity. Significant participation towards the temple was made by the king of Vijayanagara, Harihara Bukka Rayalu of the Sangam dynasty, who assured the completion of diverse structures in and around the temple. The temple is dedicated to lord shiva and saves its place of being the most divine and mystical place to visit.
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Story of Yaganti – The Shiva Temple
Yaganti is settled in Yerramala hills that offer eternal natural beauty and a unique environment to the site. There are numerous natural caves in the hills around the temple which were home to many saints throughout the ages. There are few legends attached to this beautiful place which increases the curiosity of the visitors and gives them a sense of belief and faith.
Yaganti Temple is known as the place where Lord Shiva is worshipped in his idol form rather than in the form of Shiva Linga.
In stories, we have heard that sage Agastya wanted to build a temple of Venkateswara in this divine place. But he could not install the Idol there because of the breakage of the toenail in the sculpture. This highly upset the sage. Shiva arrived and described to Agastya that the site was adequately befitted for a Shaivite temple as the region matched Kailasa. Sage Agastya then requested Shiva to give an idol of Goddess Parvati as Sri Uma Maheshwara in a single piece of stone. Shiva accepted and gifted him the idol accordingly.
According to one more legend, a true worshipper of lord shiva named Chitteppa was once praying in front of Lord Shiva. Suddenly a tiger jumped in front of him, instead of being scared Chitteppa jumped with joy as he felt that lord shiva himself visited him in the form of a Tiger. There is a cave near the Yaganti temple named Chitteppa.
Architectural Values: Temple of Yaganti
The main deities in the temple are Lord Shiva, Mata Parwati, and Nandi. People believe that Nandi is constantly changing its shape and growing. People had also made some architectural modifications to create space for Nandi to grow. Researches were done on the stone on which Nandi was carved and they came to a conclusion that the composition of the rock from which the idol was built is such, that it has a tendency to enlarge by nature, on its own. The locals say that the Nandi idol in Yaganti Temple was initially much smaller than its existing size. As per the Archaeological Survey of India, the rock grows at the rate of 1 inch per 20 years (10 mm per 8 years).
The temple has caves in and around its premises. Believers can visit the Agastya Cave that has 120 steps leading up to it. The cave secures an idol of Devi that is praised. The Venkateswara Cave has the damaged idol of Sri Venkateswara. The steps to this cave are steep. It is assumed that this idol existed before the Tirumala Tirupati Temple. As the foot of the idol was broken, it could not be worshipped.
The Yaganti temple has a small pond on the premises. The water is guessed to flow into this pond from the base of the hill through the mouth of Nandi. No one understands how the pond is fulfilled with water all year round. Devotees think that a bath in the holy Pushkarini before visiting Shiva is highly beneficial.
The Uma Maheshwara Temple at Yaganti houses the idol of Shiva & Parvathi (Ardhanareeswara) sculpted out of a single stone. It is believed that while Sage Agastya was offering penance, the crows irritated him by their cawing. He cursed the crows that they could not invade the place. The crow is the vahana for Shani Deva. As a result of the curse, Shani Deva cannot enter the temple.
Regional Belief and Faith
- All the caves are open for worship throughout the day. Artificial lights are provided as there is hardly any natural light available inside.
- A very important and remarkable feature of this temple is that the Pushkarini which is the temple tank consists of divine holy water streaming from the tank.
- The pond is filled with water throughout the year, while the origin of its way is unexplored till date.
- Due to the curse of Sage Agastya even today, people say that they have never seen a crow within the village.
- The most fascinating part of Yaganti Temple is the monolithic Nandi statue that is rising by an inch over the span of 20 years. Localities Believe that at the end of this kalyuga Nandi will come alive and will scream piercingly. People perform pradakshina around Nandi to get his blessings.
- Just behind the Veerabadraswamy temple, on top of the hill, on a ledge that looks so steep and narrow, and Akasha Deepam is lit every evening. Every day temple priest lit a lamp using 4 litres of oil and 2 meter thick wicks.
Every time I travel I try to collect each and every aspect of the site. Starting from the architecture to the sculptures placed in each and every shrine. As an art lover and a traveler, I believe a place can never get the glory of remembrance until a person encourages it and a traveler can never be an art lover until he touches the core values and major essence of the edifices. Feeling the art and architecture makes the person an artist. Stay tuned for a lot more travel experiences and witness our beautiful glorious past.Sangeeta Beri
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